President Barack Obama on Wednesday handed his legacy to Hillary Clinton, setting her up for the speech of her life Thursday, with a powerful endorsement and the enduring image of a warm embrace.
Clinton joined Obama on stage after his speech, and the President and his 2008 primary rival clung together in a shared moment of symbolism: the nation's first African-American leader entrusting its future to the woman who could become its first female commander-in-chief.
Obama was in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention 12 years to the day after he shook politics with a convention speech in Boston that encouraged Americans to look at the common threads that unite them. He offered a similarly empowering vision of the nation Wednesday, saying America doesn't need a "self declared savior" like Donald Trump to fix it.
Undaunted by the experience of a presidency that unfolded in a time of crisis and deep ideological divides, he renewed his faith in the idea of a unified nation. The speech crystalized the two visions of America emerging this election season, following last week's Republican National Convention in which Trump blasted Obama for leaving the country divided and plagued by crime.
"The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity," Obama said.
"The America I know is decent and generous. Sure, we have real anxieties -- about
paying the bills, protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock, worry about racial divisions; are shocked and saddened by
the madness of Orlando or Nice."
He went on: "But as I've travelled this country, through all fifty states; as I've rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I've also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America."
Obama then made an impassioned case for Clinton, saying no man or woman had ever been as prepared to be president. "Nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office," Obama said. "But Hillary's been in the room; she's been part of those decisions."
He acknowledged Clinton had made mistakes, but compared her to Teddy Roosevelt's valiant striver who errs, but also knows great triumphs.